Laser Cutting Articles

The laser cutting technology area has information on 2-D and 3-D cutting machines, optics, resonators, cutting gases, and automated material handling systems. In addition to conventional CO2 systems, it has information on solid-state fiber and disk lasers.

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Automated parts removal

Flexible automation of laser cutting, material handling

March 13, 2007

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What's the point in purchasing an expensive laser cutting machine if you are going to waste money-making opportunities by unloading parts manually? Good nesting software, proper maintenance, and the latest unloading technology can help to make automated laser cutting and unloading a reality.

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Laser cutting device

Breaking speed barriers in laser cutting

February 14, 2007

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A real breakthrough in high-speed laser cutting occurred in 2005. Two additional parallel kinematic drive axes were placed near the point where the laser exits the head, creating a laser cutting machine with one dynamic and light cutting torch capable of independent movement along two axes but working in precise synchronicity with the machine's more sweeping movement of the laser head. This new approach opened up new frontiers and much higher limits in processing speed.

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MPI laser cutting

Cutting lead-times with lasers

February 13, 2007

An expanding metal fabrication shop invests in lasers to help it produce precision parts and manage tight lead times.

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High speed laser cutting

A new dimension in lasers

January 17, 2007

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High-speed laser cutting is a recent result of increased laser power and high acceleration motion technology, which have improved cutting speeds. Tilt beam 2D-3D systems allow laser cutting of small 3D parts, bevel cutting on 2D sheet metal and 3D parts, 3D trimming of small deep drawn parts, and processing of holes and cut-outs in hydroformed parts.

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Waterjet laser cutting

Achieving precision and diversification with laser and waterjet technologies

January 9, 2007

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Both laser and waterjet cutting systems produce precision parts, and in many applications, either is appropriate. This article, which discusses the benefits and limitations of both technologies, can help you decide which is best-suited for your operation. In some cases, utilizing both can increase manufacturing flexibility and your business capabilities.

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CO2 lasers

High-powered lasers take a bite out of plate

December 12, 2006

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CO2 lasers are available in wattages that can cut plate more than 1 in. thick. The wattage, however, isn't the only factor that affects total speed and power. The assist gas chosen and the mode of the laser also influence final results.

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3 steps to better laser maintenance

October 10, 2006

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Laser machine users know it, but often ignore it. Laser manufacturers swear by it, but often don't push it. It's maintenance, and it should be the watchword of anyone who owns and operates a laser.

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Expanding upward and outward

September 12, 2006

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Watson Engineering didn't have to add any laser operators during its most recent expansion effort. The reason was technology advancements associated with material handling and modern laser cutting devices.

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A breath of fresh air

August 8, 2006

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Two standard laser assist gases are oxygen and nitrogen. However, a third gas — shop air — has become a viable alternative.

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Optimizing CO2 laser use: Part II

March 7, 2006

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As explained in Part I of this two-part series, many factors can affect laser processing efficiency. This article explains basic laser beam delivery requirements; discusses laser gases and supply methods; and lists common problems caused by using incorrect pressure, flow, and laser speed.

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Selecting equipment for maximum productivity

February 7, 2006

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H. Meeuwsen B.V., a fabricator in Yerseke, Netherlands, found that purchasing a laser that could handle parts up to 12 m long greatly enhanced its capabilities. It augmented this purchase with a tandem press brake. One side of the brake has an 8-m capacity; the other has a 4-m capacity. This gives the company the ability to bend 12-m parts, if necessary, or to run the two brakes simultaneously for smaller items. Subsequent growth in customer demand led the company to consider purchasing a second laser. A careful analysis revealed that the company could do just fine with a smaller laser, so it purchased a laser with a 3-m capacity.

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Optimizing CO2 laser use: Part I

January 10, 2006

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Many factors can affect laser processing efficiency. This article, Part I of a two-part series, stresses laser system maintenance and discusses factors that can affect beam quality and efficiency—namely, impurities introduced by laser gases and gas supply systems and how to prevent them. It also has a supply system requirements list. Part II discusses beam delivery to the workpiece and the gases used to process the material.

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Looking to higher power for laser speed?

December 13, 2005

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Laser beam sources with higher output powers and improved beam qualities have expanded the range of laser applications. Most system's lasers have power higher than 2 kW. Higher power does not always increase the speed, however. Increasing the power during thermal cutting value may cause increased heat-affected zones on the material and place higher demands on the motion system, thus limiting the cutting speed. A new patented cutting machine, the diffusion-cooled CO2 slab laser, may offer improved beam quality and smaller focus diameters under conditions comparable to conventional fast-axial-flow CO2 laser with 4-kW output power.

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Growing gains with lasers

November 8, 2005

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Jeff Adams may have taken the nontraditional route in manufacturing by starting out in the laser equipment vendor community, but he has since moved to the job shop side of the industry, using his laser knowledge and expertise to help grow his 12-year-old laser job shop in Libertyville, Ill.

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Tube, profile cutting with lightning speed

October 11, 2005

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For more than 30 years, lasers have been used successfully for flat sheet cutting. Complex 3-D laser cutting is well-established in the automotive industry.

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